Walled and other garden feasibility studies
Restoring or developing new walled or other garden projects to visitors are challenging projects – both during the restoration and operational phases. We are used to working with landscape architects and conservation architects and other specialists. Successful restoration projects (and new build projects) can help to leave a positive legacy for future generations to enjoy. They help to bring a wide range of benefits from learning through to the health and wellbeing of the local community, helping with destination development, creating jobs and wider environmental outcomes linked to the Climate and Biodiversity Emergencies.
The history of gardens are often inextricably interwoven with that of the wider estate or landscape in which they are located. We admire organisations which are making heritage and the natural environment more accessible to a wide range of audiences and have seen the benefits that this can bring to visitors from all walks of life. We are also inspired by heritage and community projects, particularly by sites which have a strong story to tell. We enjoy working with people who are passionate about bringing their ‘sites’ and collections to life for the public – often for the first time.
We have worked on a range of walled and other garden projects, which are often part of a wider masterplanning, feasibility study, business planning, income generation strategy or transformation project.
Example projects include:
Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council: Kirkleatham Walled Garden, a Grade II-listed historic Walled Garden has been restored. It incorporates a café, events space and gardens along with providing training opportunities linked to the catering, hospitality and horticultural sectors. We reviewed the business plan which had been produced, carried out a review of delivery and governance options and carried out a soft market testing exercise. Find out more about the project here.
Hampshire County Council: As part of their £16 million country parks transformation programme we prepared visitor experience development plans and supporting financial cases for five country parks including Staunton, which includes a walled garden, farm and tropical hot house. Find out more about Staunton Country Park here.
Central Bedfordshire Council: At Houghton Hall Park, we prepared the business case to secure Lottery funding and the project included re-instating important heritage features such as the walled garden and kitchen garden and developing a visitor centre. Find out more about Houghton Hall Park here.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council: At Sewerby Hall and Gardens we carried out a study to identify and evaluate opportunities linked to enhacing the visitor experience including two gardens and wider parkland setting. Find out more about Sewerby Hall and Gardens here.
South London Botanical Institute: Working as sub-consultants we were commissioned to help to prepare a commercial strategy for the South London Botanical Institute.
Both Kirkleatham Walled Garden and Staunton include horticultural operations linked to providing training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Clients have said a few words about our work:
“Planning Solutions were commissioned to develop a Business Plan to assess viability and recommend an approach for a commercially viable Visitor Centre at Houghton Hall Park, Houghton Regis. The Business Plan formed part of a successful Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People application for the improvement of the park. Planning Solutions fulfilled their commission with enthusiasm and commitment and worked well with other consultants and staff involved in the project. They had considerable prior experience working with visitor attractions and used this experience and knowledge to create a comprehensive Business Plan.” Kim Owens, Senior Fundraising Officer Central Bedfordshire Council
Added value – direct operational experience
We are also able to draw on the experience of our sister company, Planning Solutions Limited, who have over 25 years operational experience of running a number of heritage and other tourism businesses including Kent Life Heritage Farm Park, CONKERS, the National Brewery Centre (formerly the Bass Museum) and Cotswold Country Park and Beach. PSL has also acquired the William Worthington Brewery, which has been launched as the Heritage Brewing Company. The focus is on reviving traditional ales and beers.
Kent Life incorporates the Kentish Gardens from the ornamental herb garden through to the apple orchard, two farmhouse gardens which produce a range of seasonal fruit and vegetables and a hop garden which is planted with Fuggle and Goldings Hops, both traditional Kentish varieties from the late 19th century.
This operational experience enables us to understand the challenges faced by operators in managing and shaping visitor experiences and how to develop projects that are commercially viable, meet the needs of the visitor marketplace and community and respond to other needs such as education, learning, volunteering and placemaking.
If you feel we can be of assistance or would like to talk through an idea or plan please don’t hesitate to contact Richard Linington (firstname.lastname@example.org).